Have you ever told someone, “I’ll be there as soon as I can,” and then quickly discovered that your definition of “soon” and their definition were not the same? Oops!
In a similar way, how can we make sense of Jesus’s words that He is coming “soon,” given that John received this revelation from Jesus almost 2,000 years ago? After all, we are still waiting, aren’t we? Who gets to define “soon”?
Consider How Jesus Describes Himself
Part of the answer, I think, is found by looking at the various titles that Jesus used to describe Himself in Revelation 22:12-16. The Alpha and the Omega. The First and the Last. The Beginning and the End. The Root and the Offspring of David. The bright Morning Star.
Alpha and Omega is used to describe the eternal and timeless nature of God. The Root of David identifies that He has triumphed and is worthy. The bright Morning Star alludes to hope on the horizon. In other words, Jesus is able to define “soon” simply because of who He is. Jesus is our eternal, sovereign, and victorious God. The question, then, is are we willing to trust Jesus and allow His timing to become our timing, even if it doesn’t feel fair to us at the moment?
Following God has always required waiting, though, hasn’t it? By definition, following someone means submitting to their leadership, including their sense of timing. “Though it [the revelation] linger, wait for it. It will certainly not delay” (Hab. 2:3). “When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Gal. 4:4). “Look, I am coming soon!” (Rev. 22:12). Though we may not see it while we wait, and though we often feel frustrated in the moment, God’s timing is always perfect.
This Christmas season, will you wait for Jesus? Wait for Him to speak to you. Wait for Him to bring healing, justice, or transformation. Wait for Him to return a second time.
Will you wait—with trust and expectation—simply because Jesus is who He is?
[Mark Wessner is the President of MB Seminary and is a member of Central Heights Church in Abbotsford, BC.